Now that we see a quite large amount of OS X Lion questions here on Super User, I've seen people telling the OP to go to ask on Ask Different.

Of course, the folks at Ask Different want their site promoted:

Now that Lion is out, help promote Ask Different!

Now that Lion is shipping, there will be zillions of mac users upgrading, and they'll have lots of questions. And since all those questions will be new, Ask Different will have as good a shot at having the best answer than any of those, you know, competitive sites. Essentially, this is a great time to recruit new members!

And it seems there are people who dislike having so many OS X questions on Super User. Still, questions about OS X are on topic here.

Is it therefore justified to inform people (who suggest to go to Ask Different) that Mac hardware and OS X questions are perfectly on-topic here and should not be migrated or closed?

This probably is the reason why there is no migration path to Ask Different yet.

Further discussion: I've added an answer to the above meta.Apple.SE question. Joel Spolsky then added a comment that I should bring it up here, so I did. So what do you think? Should we give Ask Different more users by telling them to go elsewhere? Basically like having ads for Ask Ubuntu. Is anybody annoyed by having so many recent OS X questions?

I would think that it's fine to tell the OP about Ask Different in the case of a very specific question that hasn't yet received an answer. But then again we shouldn't encourage people to cross-post.

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1 Answer

up vote 33 down vote accepted

I've noticed this too, and it's an annoying trend, so let me make the official policy clear:

If a question about an Apple product is on topic for Super User as defined in the the FAQ, then it should stay on Super User

If a user comments saying that questions about OS X should be moved to Ask Different, kindly reply with a link to this meta post explaining the official policy. If the users argue or continue telling users to migrate their questions, flag the comments for a moderator and we can step in to remind them.

Update: there is now an official Stack Exchange blog post on this subject. I encourage you to read the whole thing yourself, but here are the most relevant excerpts:

As members of a community, your first loyalty should be to that community. When evaluating a question, you shouldn’t be looking to push it off on some other site; instead, ask if it could be appropriate and on-topic for you, the experts who the author decided to ask. Be a bit jealous of your site – don’t blithely turn askers away simply because their question could be asked somewhere else. Don’t hit them over the head with your scope, help them tailor their question to fit into it – and if that means your site’s scope overlaps a bit with another site’s, so be it.

Obviously, there are questions you’ll have to turn away, either because their only connection to your site is via the audience (“How do I make bread as a programmer?”), because it’s completely off-topic (“How do I cook a fish in a dishwasher?” obviously belongs on Cooking, not Home Improvement) or because they’re simply not useful or constructive. But that should be your last resort. Close questions with an eye toward improvement and re-opening, not driving users away.

And for you Apple.SE, AskUbuntu, and other folks who come here looking to grab some new questions...

Don’t attempt to scavenge on-topic questions from other sites by asking the moderators there to migrate them to yours. Again, there’s no harm in leaving a comment suggesting that a question would be a better fit somewhere else. But focus first on the questions that aren’t on-topic, or aren’t getting answered – snatching someone’s question (or answer) away without any forewarning is a slap in their face

We want more OS X questions, not fewer. In fact, there is no reason why Super User shouldn't view the inception of Lion as a good opportunity to bring new visitors to our site as well.

The only times a user should be encouraged to have their question migrated to Ask Different are if the question is one of the following:

  • off topic here, but on topic there
  • getting very few views and no good answers, and you believe it might get better answers there
  • the user who asks the question requests it to be moved because they think it would do better there

Ask Different is a great site. They have a good community of knowledgeable Apple users. However, it is their own responsibility to recruit users, and Super User is not really the appropriate place to do that. You don't see prolific Super Users going over to Ask Different and posting "actually this question is on topic for Super User, you should move it over there". Furthermore, some users choose SU over AD because they are more familiar with SU, or because of the differences in the feel of the community. This choice is up to the user.

In addition to being rude to the SU community, it is also rude to the new users asking the questions: if we are trying to recruit new users, then by arbitrarily shuffling their questions around to other sites — when they're on-topic here — creates a confusing and irritating user experience. We want new users' interactions with the Stack Exchange community to be positive, and jumping on them for posting in the right place is more likely to drive them away from Stack Exchange completely than to convert them.

yeah no nagging please. If you feel a question is a much better fit there, then explain why in the comment.. but simple, mindless repetition of "contains the word Apple, must belong elsewhere" is not welcome. –  Jeff Atwood Jul 21 '11 at 22:07
This response has to be the best explanation I've seen how to treat an overlap in scope between two sites. It shows great conviction to split your Mac OS X questions over two sites, but with policy like this it looks like a worthy experiment with good chances of success. –  bmike Aug 16 '11 at 21:16
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